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Thread: Current thoughts on laser levels

  1. #1
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    Default Current thoughts on laser levels

    I'm thinking about picking up a "consumer grade" laser level for multiple uses around the place here. Anybody have experience, thoughts or opinions on what's out there currently?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    I picked up one of these a while ago (sadly they are no longer listed as available). I have found it quite useful and have never had any reason to doubt its accuracy:

    https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop...l?item=99W7580

    Might give you at least a sense of what's available at that price point.

    - James

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Dewalt makes a couple good ones in the $300.00 range. Do you just want level, or level plumb and square? Just level are pretty cheap where the 3 axis ones run a little more.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Three axis line lasers make squaring tile and hardwood layout pretty easy.
    I like green for inside and low light.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    I've had this one for a few years now and it has come in very handy. It's 9-1/2" long and sticks magnetically to leveling base behind it. The laser dot is visible in bright sunlight and the bubbles are about as accurate as my Stabila levels. If doing it again though, I would get level that projects a horizontal/vertical line instead of a dot.

    IMG_3035.jpg

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    I have two. A Dewalt that projects horizontal and vertical lines and a Bosch that does dots, both have their uses. Get the self-leveling model and a tripod to mount it on.

    The Dewalt was really useful in leveling my boat after flipping it right-side up and then getting the berths in at the same height. Also very handy for getting decks built more or less level, PT lumber has so many curves in it these days and the laser lets you average them out.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    I have a Stanley and have used it for many projects. Not good in bright light, but I have drawn waterlines working around the boat by quarters, bow around stern to bow and come out right on, speaking well for it's accuracy.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Iíve had two Bosch; one for years until I broke it while building a staircase in 2013, the replacement (less $$$) ever since. Does H, V, H+V lines & can be set to hold an angle too with a proper mount. Red laser, no good in sunlight outdoors.

    Camera tripod work once I add a QD-style base. And I take the batteries out when itís not being used Ďcause a leakeríll kill it.
    Last edited by sp_clark; 06-13-2022 at 01:24 PM.
    ďWhen the people wanted the Constitution amended, it was amended. When the elites wanted the Constitution amended, but the people did not, that is called democracy."

    Ė
    Thomas Sowell, JWR August 3, 2022

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    I have one.
    Never used it, it's in a shelf somewhere.
    For house work, I have a house from the 20ies, nothing is quite level or perpendicular. It's close, they did use water levels and plumb bobs etc back then, but in reality it's more important to be paralel than to be level.
    For boats I can see it being useful for drawing the waterline, IF your floor is level and the boat is placed completely correctly. I'm not convinced it's worth it really.

    /Mats

    Diagnosed with autism. Sorry, not much I can do about it.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    As for the waterline, here's a trick for you.
    You put the boat in the water, rigg it, ballast it, all that jazz.
    Then you lean out over the gunwale and mark how high the water is on the top sides.

    /Mats

    Diagnosed with autism. Sorry, not much I can do about it.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    That will motivate them Mohsart

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    I bought this one and have used it much more than I ever expected.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...e?ie=UTF8&th=1

    I used it to establish the waterline on my boat:

    IMG_0422.jpg

    And to level my fuselage before installing the new tail:

    IMG_1792 (2).jpg

    My only critique is that I wish the laser line was brighter and finer, but it is a very useful too.

    Good luck,

    Dean

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    I'll be picking up one from a friend who's had it for years and never used it. Type and quality to be seen I want to use it to check on my house, which is currently up on blocks awaiting a new perimeter foundation to replace the old post/beam supports that were starting to get a bit "buggy". This may also (we hope) discourage the squirrels from getting underneath the house (late '20s farmhouse) and chewing up the ducting and wiring.
    Here's what we found after we peeled the old vinyl siding. We're removing this room and the existing porch completely:
    IMG_6734.jpg

    The end wall of the old house will be replaced and the roof raised to match the addition we did several years ago (project stalled due to family matters) so it'll look kinda like this:
    IMG_5793.jpg

    And the old buggy cedar logs will be replaced with a concrete foundation. The inner logs and posts are still solid as can be so they'll stay and just get some strapping.
    IMG_6815.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Hugh MacD; 06-14-2022 at 11:14 AM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Sorry for the OT, but it boggles my mind why most American houses seem to have horizontal panelling, while most Scandinavian houses has vertical.
    I can see the reason for vertical (easier, less risk of moist traps) but why horizontal? Is it just for aestetics?

    /Mats

    Diagnosed with autism. Sorry, not much I can do about it.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Good question, Mats. I suspect that much of it due to the commonality of bevelled cedar siding that was super cheap to come by here in the states. Less than a hundred years ago Oregon was still largely forested and here in the Willamette valley/lower Columbia area cedar was considered junk wood. My farmhouse was built in the late '20s, added on to repeatedly and the construction is...interesting. I pulled some 4" X6" beams out from under the porch that were perfectly clear fir with 12-14 rings per inch. The end wall you can see in the photos is 2" X 6" of some of the crappiest pitchwood I've ever seen. No consistency. From nail hole patterns I've found I'm guessing my place was originally shingled. Those were removed and replaced with asbestos siding, probably in the '40s. Then in the '702/'80s, someone put vinyl siding over the asbestos. It's been an interesting project and a cross between construction/destruction and archaeology. The floor timbers we were able to save from the demolished bedroom were 2X12 fir. I see myself making a nice bench here in the near future

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Quote Originally Posted by mohsart View Post
    I have one.
    Never used it, it's in a shelf somewhere.
    For house work, I have a house from the 20ies, nothing is quite level or perpendicular. It's close, they did use water levels and plumb bobs etc back then, but in reality it's more important to be paralel than to be level.
    For boats I can see it being useful for drawing the waterline, IF your floor is level and the boat is placed completely correctly. I'm not convinced it's worth it really.

    /Mats
    Why would this matter?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    I've got a carport project underway. It's 12 X 42 and the driveway slopes 2 degrees away from the house and 1.5 degrees down toward the street. I can't think of any way to get the outside header level to the ledger plank on the house without using a laser level. So that will be my next purchase. Every project requires a new tool. It's a rule. My sweetie concurs, as long as I buy it with my own money.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    DeWalt three Beam laser level. 300 and some bucks is a small price to pay for what you get in the project of yours.! Jim

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Well...we were just gifted a Ryobi EMM0001...goofy little bit of kit. It projects a single red line and is dependent on a powered vacuum mount, so it's as accurate as any surface you're mounting to. No tripod adaptor or anything. It projects perpendicular to your mounting surface...looks like it's designed primarily to hang pictures and such. I'll play with it, but don't expect any great results.
    20220614_211926[1].jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    I cannot reply with quotes for some reason, but StevenBauer,
    The only laser levels I've seen sits on a tripod placed on the floor and shows a level laser line at a distance from the floor determined by the height of the tripod, it's pretty hard to project that line all around a boat without moving the level/tripod to a different place on the floor

    /Mats

    Diagnosed with autism. Sorry, not much I can do about it.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    A "waterline" on a boat is not a thing.
    A "waterline" is one of many lines on a lofting floor.
    The "waterline" on a boat, if painted perfectly straight, will look like crap.It will have the appearance of droopin down at the ends of the boat if she is still, or wonky in the middle if the boat rolls a bit.
    Why do folks knock themselves out for this?

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Quote Originally Posted by mohsart View Post
    I cannot reply with quotes for some reason, but StevenBauer,
    The only laser levels I've seen sits on a tripod placed on the floor and shows a level laser line at a distance from the floor determined by the height of the tripod, it's pretty hard to project that line all around a boat without moving the level/tripod to a different place on the floor

    /Mats
    You are correct. To project the waterline all the way around the boat, I had to reposition the tripod 3 or 4 times. Before each move, I projected a reference line segment on one of the nearby walls. With each relocation, I would re-align to whatever portion of the line I could see on the boat and cross check with the line on the wall. My tripod has a small screw jack on the top to the level can be adjusted up or down a few inches so the task was quite easy.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    A "waterline" on a boat is not a thing.
    A "waterline" is one of many lines on a lofting floor.
    The "waterline" on a boat, if painted perfectly straight, will look like crap.It will have the appearance of droopin down at the ends of the boat if she is still, or wonky in the middle if the boat rolls a bit.
    Why do folks knock themselves out for this?
    Sorry, is this an argument for or against laser levels?

    /Mats

    Diagnosed with autism. Sorry, not much I can do about it.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    neither. They are a labor and time saving tool over a waterlevel.
    I'm jus sayin, a perfectly PAINTED waterline is a pointless endeavour.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryLL View Post
    I've got a carport project underway. It's 12 X 42 and the driveway slopes 2 degrees away from the house and 1.5 degrees down toward the street. I can't think of any way to get the outside header level to the ledger plank on the house without using a laser level. So that will be my next purchase. Every project requires a new tool. It's a rule. My sweetie concurs, as long as I buy it with my own money.
    terry needs a sarcasm emoji
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    neither. They are a labor and time saving tool over a waterlevel.
    I'm jus sayin, a perfectly PAINTED waterline is a pointless endeavour.
    Fair enough, all I am saying is that a laser level doesn't save that much time and labor.

    /Mats

    Diagnosed with autism. Sorry, not much I can do about it.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Quote Originally Posted by mohsart View Post
    Fair enough, all I am saying is that a laser level doesn't save that much time and labor.

    /Mats
    yea i never felt the need for one
    eighth of an inch accuracy was good enough for my 34'er

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Read post 13 again. That project is crying out for a high quality laser. the best one I use, and own, is this one.

    https://www.homedepot.ca/product/dew...ase/1000761087

    These things are huge time savers in the residential construction business. You will save the cost of this laser just in the process of setting the foundation and levelling the floors after. Forget a tripod, note the magnetic function. Clamp a steel stud to your stool and place anywhere in reach of your benchmark.
    I couldn't begin to count the hours saved in layout time from the acquisition and educated use of this tool.
    Have I made my point? / Jim

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    My framers are using a Hilti on a tripod, but to check for my own use I'll use the little Ryobi our friends gave us. It's a goofy little thing that uses a powered suction system to clamp to a vertical (verified) surface (in my case, a door). The line at 30' is pretty faint, but it'll be readable on my survey rod. You can barely see it in the photo below. Not usable for real "work", but I'm just monitoring the level of the house as the contractor does his thing. Were I twenty years younger I'd be doing this myself, but....
    20220615_143330[1].jpg

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Quote Originally Posted by chas View Post
    Read post 13 again. That project is crying out for a high quality laser. the best one I use, and own, is this one.

    https://www.homedepot.ca/product/dew...ase/1000761087

    These things are huge time savers in the residential construction business. You will save the cost of this laser just in the process of setting the foundation and levelling the floors after. Forget a tripod, note the magnetic function. Clamp a steel stud to your stool and place anywhere in reach of your benchmark.
    I couldn't begin to count the hours saved in layout time from the acquisition and educated use of this tool.
    Have I made my point? / Jim
    That looks like a nice one. I really like having mine on a tripod but some of that is from using it outside a lot, living on a hillside having adjustable legs is handy.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    terry needs a sarcasm emoji
    Eff the dang sarcasm emoji. I want a laser level and I want it now. My sweetie is on board with the requirement for a new tool for every project.
    Don't you dare mess up her mind-set, which has taken me decades to establish.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryLL View Post
    Eff the dang sarcasm emoji. I want a laser level and I want it now. My sweetie is on board with the requirement for a new tool for every project.
    Don't you dare mess up her mind-set, which has taken me decades to establish.
    GOOD EFFORT! Well worth the time Mine mostly agrees with me, but I still haven't been able to talk her into letting me get that 48" Bridgeport I've been jonesing for

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    I had mine out today to plumb the transoms on the building jig.



    Absolutely worth the $70 I paid for this one, which levels itself and casts a good green level and plumb line. I personally don't think I would spend $300 on it, but I also believe those who say it saves that much on the first big job.

    - James

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    I understand the uses of laser levels and have,on occasion,used them.I only trust them after I have set up targets on the workshop wall with a water level and seen the laser correspond with the marks.The device can't tell you if its been dropped and the person who dropped it might not want to mention it,so I like to satisfy myself that it is up to the job.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Current thoughts on laser levels

    Bought a cheap Chinese level to do the waterline on my boat, it worked very well. Except I need to add a couple of inches of boot topping.


    On the house, well this house is a youngster at 116 years old, but it's half built of the foundations of a 500 year old pub, that, plus we are on clay soil, means nothing is level, . All doors have to be planed at angles top and bottom. Using a level is pointless except on shelves, everything else has the measured relative to its position.
    Just an amateur bodging away..

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